What are the main types of climbing?

Climbing has always been one of the sports considered high risk for those who do not know it, but in reality, it is one of the safest if the necessary measures are taken. On the other hand, this activity, with a long history, presents different types of climbing, most of which are suitable for all audiences. However, people outside the mountaineering environment may confuse about some terms.

Likewise, professionals such as the Technician in Driving Activities in the Natural Environment and sports enthusiasts choose one modality to practice based on their interests and uniqueness and consider each individual’s security. One of them. Concerning the reliability of this discipline, a study published by the Spanish Federation of Mountain and Climbing Sports (FEDME) concludes that only 0.16% of federated mountain athletes required a rescue through the Mountain Services of the Civil Guard in 2016.

It is convenient for those starting to practice this sport or are thinking of starting in it to know the main types of climbing that exist, choose new challenges, and know which discipline best suits their tastes.

What is climbing?

Sport climbing is a traditional modality consisting of going up and along a rocky slope or wall. In this practice, the difficulty lies in several factors:

The size of the grips

The inclination of the wall

The rest points

The number of movements

On the other hand, some natural or artificial reliefs are provided with routes with fixed insurance to guarantee the athlete’s safety. Likewise, mountaineers and climbers will have to have good physical training since climbing focuses on seeking the maximum difficulty of movements.

Main types of climbing

Within sports climbing, different modalities are classified according to the environment where they are carried out, the methodology, or the equipment used. In addition, they all have the same goal, to ascend. The main types of climbing are:

Classic Climbing

Classic or traditional climbing is one of the climbs most practiced by athletes and is respectful of the environment. In it, the routes that are prepared are anchors placed strategically to ensure the passage of the climber. In addition, the materials that are usually used in this type of climbing are varied, highlighting drivers, nails, or fissures, among others. The main characteristic is that this material can be recovered since they are not fixed.

Likewise, for this practice, the difficulty levels are expressed according to the French graduation, thus starting from the sixth grade, which is made up of numbers and the letters a, b, and c. For example, a 6a climb would be easier than a 6b.

Artificial climbing

Aid climbing was the first type of ascent used for walls lacking dams, becoming a variant of classical climbing. The main feature is that the climber can use different materials to progress in the exercise, such as hooks.

Likewise, before beginning this ascent, it will be essential to analyze the route to be followed. So that the athlete carries all the necessary equipment. In this case, the difficulty grading is set from A0 to A6. The first being the easiest and the last being the most complex. Those who practice aid climbing may find themselves with spotless walls, meetings that do not support a fall, or several locations where the insurance does not support the climber’s weight.

Alpine climbing

Alpine climbing is one of the modalities that involves the most risk in the high mountains. This type of ascent requires, in turn, particular skills and specific equipment. Because various types of discipline are usually mixed, such as traditional, artificial, and on ice.

On the other hand, those who practice this type of climbing will have to know how to prevent an accident in the mountains; they must know how to interpret the weather, react to possible avalanches, and have a good orientation or read maps. This climb involves several days to complete the route, so the athlete will also have to know first aid techniques, self-rescue notions, and how to cook with the resources they carry with them.

Free Climbing

Free climbing is a modality that implies that the climber only uses his body to progress up the wall. In this type of practice, the footwear stands out, which can be magnesium. Likewise, another singularity is that no other medium is used. This ascent supposes a high risk for athletes. For this reason, the only ones who usually practice this modality are high-level professionals.

Speed Climbing

The most spectacular type of climbing promoted in competition is the speed modality. Whose main characteristic is time? This athlete manages to reach the top as soon as possible wins.

Block Climbing

Bouldering or bouldering is one of the techniques most used by climbers due to its proximity to the city. Although these walls can also be found in caves. This modality is exempt from safety materials since it is practiced at a low height. The only equipment used is specific footwear or magnesium and some mats to cushion the impact in a fall. On the other hand, the versatility of these spaces and the social nature of the activity has led to the proliferation of many fans.

As it has been possible to verify throughout the article. This is a sport that offers many possibilities to carry out. Still, it is essential that before opting for any climbing, athletes allow themselves to be advised by professionals to minimize the risks.


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